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Raw video: Fire in electrician’s van extends to Mahwah, NJ home.

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Early picture of the fire

Video from homer218 of a fire reported around 1:00 this afternoon on Swan Road in Mahwah, New Jersey (Bergen County).

Jessica Mazzola, Mahwah Patch:

Mahwah firefighters were fighting a fire Tuesday afternoon that broke out in a service van parked in a driveway and spread to a home on Swan Rd., police said.

According to Police Chief Jim Batelli, an electrician installing a generator in the house had parked in the driveway near the home’s garage. After 1 p.m., he heard a popping noise, and saw that his van was fully engulfed in flames, Batelli said.

The fire spread from the van to the garage, and caused significant damage to the home, officials said.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • http://none Engine 5er

    Looked like van fire was priorty over house?? Was this because an attack crew was inside?? Exterior fires to new homes should be knocked down initially from the exterior.

  • Fire21

    Ummm, the house is burning…forget the van!! I agree, give it a shot from outside, then get it from inside. The first evidence I saw of water application to the house fire was at 4:29…after a break in the video! At 7+ minutes after several video breaks the fire was still burning on the outside of the roof. And the establishment of a water supply looked like a cluster…if that was a supply line.

  • Robert Kramer

    Dear fire department whose district in which I reside,

    If you ever encounter a similar situation at my humble abode, please try to extinguish my partially involved $260,000 house before you worry about the contractors destroyed and unsavable $15,000 van.


  • JD

    Nice of the crew to put out the total loss van first. WTH?

  • slackjawedyokel

    Im thinking there was a team inside.

  • on the job

    four firemen and three cops to hook up a fire hose…OH BOY ??

  • Northern Chief

    I would assume that there was a crew on the interior stretching a line, protecting interior exposures, confining the fire and then extinguishing the fire. It appears that the first water in the house was well after the line for the van was in place. Lots of PASS Alarms and if we only told the manufacturers of them breathing apparatus that we don’t need waste straps….maybe they would reduce the cost of each unit by a couple hundred dollars…Buckle up…SCBA and Seat belts…

  • FLFF

    You know that jingle that the ice cream truck plays when it comes through your neighborhood? The one you just can’t get out of your head. I’ve now got one of several of the video’s PASS Devices still playing in my head. For everyones sanity, if you take it off – turn it off!

  • Anonymous

    At the beginning of the video it looks like watere supply is already established, and a hand line is stretched to the front door….

  • Putz

    First off there was a team INSIDE! geez… secondly that was the crews assignment was THE VAN! only thing i see is water supply to tower.. could of been a bit faster there but overall good job! STOP critizing unless you truely know what’s going on which you CAN’T see in the video! no fire is perfectly done.. do it safely first, property can be bought.. lives can’t!

    • Jeff

      We’ll never know what’s fully going on, but we learn a lot from this wealth of information that videos provide us with. We expect that EVERY complex operation will have better ways it could have been done.

      Now, the question I have is even with an interior team, SHOULD the exterior team have focused directly on the van? It’s not until later in the video that one realizes how large the structure actually is. In light of that wider shot and the knowledge of a working interior crew (I’m assuming you’re a local and know more than I can see), I’d say the exterior crew did the right thing.

      A good reminder of the things that might be out of our sight.

    • CHAOS

      If you’re ignoring a PASS alarm, you’re not doing it safely.

    • Robert Kramer

      An appropriate reply from “Putz”.

  • Concerned FIREMAN

    I would be embarrassed to be apart of that Sh*T show. Can someone explain what the hell these idiots were doing. I literally just became extremely embarassed to say that I am from that area. Who the hell taught these guys to fight fire. Literally embarassing.

    • LFD Captain

      Tactics are all wrong here, rapidly advancing fire that started on the outside in a large OSB covered vinyl sided house needs to be addressed outside first. Wash vinyl down, throw some water thru the eaves, stop horizontal and vertical fire spread (all done in under 30 seconds) and then get inside and clean it up.

      Handling this the way they did is a recipe to get a firefighter killed and don’t give me all the aggressive interior bull …. talk about fire attack in the North, tactics are the same everywhere….

    • Pedro

      Let me try to explain. You see, when someone in america sees a fire, they take the very first steps in activating the emergency response system. If they chose to call 911, a trained 911 operator will answer, and through a series of questions, will determine what type of emergency exists, it’s location, and will send the correct type of emergency response personnel to mitigate the situation. In this particular illustration, there appears to have been a fire. Most municipalities or counties in america operate a fire department, which is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. These fire departments are typically funded by taxpayer dollars in the area of jurisdiction (AoJ) or through a type of fire tax. With these monies, fire departments are able to purchase the necessary equipment and training to engage in fire suppression activities. On this day, the unfortunate person experienced a fire to their automobile. Although vehicle fires are fairly non-lethal since most people are able to escape from a burning automobile, a fair amount of caution must be paid by the responding firefighters. You see, sometimes we forget, vehicles carry gasoline, and gasoline is flammable! The amount of gasoline in a vehicle depends on the size of the gasoline tank inside the vehicle. Firefighters must also use caution with the vehicle surroundings. You see, we don’t always park automobiles in the middle of an open parking lot. We park them on roads, under bridges, inside garages, and occasionally, in driveways. In this case, not only was there a vehicle fire, but said vehicle was coincidentally parked directly next to a home! What a poor circumstance indeed. These firefighters, or “idiots” as you referred, when confronted with this rather odd situation, worked as professionals do in any task undertaken; they confronted the situation they were faced with by relying on their training, utilizing sound tactics and accepted fire suppression principles, and at the end of the day, through quick action and stern resolve, prevented the fire from consuming the entire home. Through the actions of the fire department, countless tens of thousands of dollars of property damage was prevented, priceless family heirlooms were preserved from destruction, and by extinguishing the initial source of the fire (the vehicle), PRESERVED A CRUCIAL PIECE OF EVIDENCE TO AID IN THE INVESTIGATION OF THE FIRE, WHICH WILL AID THE HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE COMPANY, AND THE HOMEOWNER.

      I sincerely hope my explanation helps you understand what you saw in the video. But I would be remiss to not include one very important point. You see, us firefighters, are a very critical bunch, and at times, have been known to throw a friendly verbal jab at one another, in good fun. However, with the advent of the world wide web (internet), it has become increasingly easier for us to share our experiences through social media (facebook/twitter). This, coupled with easy to use cameras that have the ability to “upload” their videos straight to the “internet”, make sharing of videos almost instantaneous. This combination of social media and instant video sharing capabilities has created the ideal circumstances for a disease to grow. The disease, known as KIC (keyboardus incidentes commanderitis) has reached epidemic proportions in a relatively short period of time. Symptoms include; tunnel vision, hearing loss, reduced attention span, difficulty with perception, diarrhea of the mouth, sporadic utterances of long disproved notions, general ignorance of grammar, inability to form cohesive thoughts, hostile and abusive use of profanity, general loss of decorum, and an obvious abuse of anonymity. Although no one knows the exact cause of KIC, it is known to be highly contagious, affecting the central nervous system, specifically the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for problem solving, reasoning, language acquisition, judgment, and impulse control.

      Although there is no known cure to KIC, you can treat the symptoms. Whenever you view a video displaying firefighting, you may have the urge to comment. Before you do, ask yourself these simple questions:

      What is the initial alarm assignment? How did the initial size up occur? Where was the initial hoseline placed? How did the interior nozzle team do? How did the interior search teams do?

      If you cannot answer these or other very basic questions, you have probably watched a video where the camera operator arrives after the initial arriving companies have begun their work. It is ill-advised to comment or “rant” about something which you do not have the necessary information to discuss appropriately. In the fire service, we would say you can’t “back up” what you’re saying with anything because you weren’t there.

      In closing – Since you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, I hardly see a place where you could possibly be justified in making your comments. I hope my explanation has been satisfactory.

  • Anonymous

    People need to stop commenting on things they didn’t participate in. Real easy to criticize from a keyboard. There crews already inside by the time the can was being extinguished. Know what you’re talking about before commenting on a job well done by a fire dept. committed and dedicated to their community. MFD did a great job. And all mutual aid company’s as well.

  • Anonymous

    Do we run red lights or blue on the equipment there?

  • Anonymous

    Long story on the lights, one company runs blue, reason unknown.

    BTW. Love everyone criticizing the techniques even though they weren’t there but no one said anything about this RAW video being chopped up into more than a dozen pieces. Hardly RAW.

  • Titanic

    If only the electrician’s van had a bumper turret….. Then the electrician could have knocked down the fire in his van and the house and sent the FD home.

    • Sharppointy1

      I wonder if the homeowner paid the electrician before he burnd the homeowner’s house down? If he did, I hope he got his money back… :)

  • Rudedawg

    Could the first in engine have hit this fire with the deck gun to knock it down? Could that same deck gun have been used to cover the van and the house from the engines vantage point while interior crews were getting into position? Did anyone stretch a line that wasn’t in a crosslay? Does this department have any portable master stream devices that could have been deployed? When I viewed the video clip, those were the first questions that came to mind. I’m not familiar with this department or their equipment. I do think they did a good job of limiting the damages. The hose stretch alone to get from the engine to the area of the fire on the interior had to be a piece of work in itself.

  • roofhook22

    Fella’s, the research is in, you cannot push fire with streams, look at recent data from South Carolina and the UL study completed last year. Help the brothers on the inside and take some heat out of the thing, kill the flashover. By all means get aggressive on the inside but flow that straight stream and forget about the van.

  • Art of Fire

    Food for thought:

    The outside crew could have “flanked” the eave fire by directing a straight stream parallel to the home and knocked down the exterior fire. This would have very little impact on the conditions inside the home. The fire started and progressed from the outside, it should be attacked from the outside as well. The interior crews are dealing with the “exposure.”

  • Robert Kramer

    The attitude that EVERY incident completed without someone getting hurt is killing the fire service.

  • Fire Ninja

    I can understand the exterior crews not applying water to the exterior of the residence once crews were inside. There are several factors that may have played into this scenerio. But most importantly, application of water from the exterior could have resulted in unnecessary steam conversion on interior crews as they advanced on the fire. It could have also forced debris into the “faces” of the attack crews. I understand that NIST has supposedly “proven” that we can’t push fire. But it’s hard to disprove something that you’ve seen with your own eyes. I just have a hard time taking that chance when we can simply put interior crews at the seat of the fire and protect the unburned portions of the residence.

  • Anonymous

    Just a side note…some of these audios have “tone outs” that last almost a minute…I understand pager/siren activations have to be done. Anyone find issues with longer dispatch/call notifications in their areas?

  • Capt Dick

    1st problem- blue lights on a piece of fire apparatus . 2nd- never mind , just see #1. Oh, IMO, building construction probably helped save this Charlie Foxtrot from going to the foundation.

  • Chief Dill

    The comment about exterior knock down with the deck gun while the interior crews were deploying for interior attack is the correct proceedures from my prospective, I’ve used it many times. Steam conversion on the interior crew, really,,,,If the deck gun was used there would be NO steam conversion to face the interior crew as they wouldn’t even be inside yet. WOW!!!! all these comments are very constructive I hope for some.

    • Fire Ninja

      My comments about steam conversion did not take into consideration using master streams devices. The opinion I got from other posters was that they expected the 1 3/4 combination nozzle applying water to the van to instead apply it to the exterior of the home. I stand by my comment with the attack line being used. Although, I do agree that a “blitz” attack using a master stream device would have been the preferably option. Of course depending on water supply.

  • Sanchez

    Congratulations you are all better firemen because u can look at a picture and video.. You are all the downfall of the fire service. All the things pointed out in the negative are completely inaccurate and a real firefighter not a Facebook firefighter would notice that there are multiple lines in operation. Water supply established an steam pushing from the interior meaning lines operating inside before a line was used to knock the van fire down. Get off your high horses go train and learn.. Keep your brother bashing bs off the internet

    • LFD Captain

      You are kidding right……

  • roofhook22

    I was talking about the handline being used on the van to throw a liitle water on the problem, the van fire was not the problem just the cause. I beleive we all have radios today so coordinating a quick knock back with this handline while interior crews were getting into position to finish it up and and getting the primary done should not be a problem. By taking out some of the heat maybe we can prevent a flashover or keeping it from spreading into the voids and attic and not burn the lid off of it.

  • on the job

    Hey….those cops drive that fire engine to the scene with the blue lights ????

  • Mind your damn business

    Why dont you all mind your own business. This is a close friend of mine and all you people commenting here, especially those doing drive bys like you are in Disney world lack any respect for the privacy of this couple, especially the jackass that posted the zillow information as if that matters.. Get a life people. I wouldn’t want my house on every blogger site and you people have way too much free time.